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Archive for May 21, 2022

May 21, 2022 — The best competition of the weekend

A lot has been made this week of the fact that the NCAA quarterfinal round for Division I women’s lacrosse was given a 10-hour window in one location on a cable network rather than having to pick one or two games to stream, based on the whims of the host institutions of the four games.

We’ve done Final Third broadcasts of these gamedays, which we’ve found have been some of the best competition in college women’s lacrosse.

But a funny thing happened Thursday: I don’t know whether it was a function of luck or of tension, but three of the four games had final margins of five goals or more. Two were at running clock at full time.

Indeed, the only close game of the quarterfinal round occurred when top seed North Carolina, frustrated by a well-executed Stony Brook zone defense, won 8-5.

Yesterday, however, a college game occurred which surpassed all of those games when it came to drama and denouement. That was the Division II semifinal match between Queens University and East Stroudsburg.

Queens, you may have read this week, is making a transition to NCAA Division I by 2026. The Royals have put together a very spunky team which had a number of impressive wins this year, averaging more than 21 goals a game.

Read that last clause again. Queens hit the 20-goal mark on 16 occasions and were the greatest scoring show in women’s lacrosse.

That is, until it ran up against East Stroudsburg and its defense. Still, Queens should have thought it had the chance to win the game when, with under a minute to go in regulation, Madison Baggatta of ESU was booked for a dangerous check.

This, of course, brought up a nightmare situation for ESU. Queens would be be on the power play for the last 51 seconds of regulation, then, if they didn’t score and won the first draw of overtime, could spend two uninterrupted minutes of the power play without worrying about the possession clock.

Indeed, Queens didn’t score at the final stroke of full time, then won the opening draw of overtime. Queens got a good shot on cage at the 30-second mark of extra time, but the Warriors’ Sophia Graffeo, going against convention, went to goal off a lovely Kiki Fitzpatrick pass.

The result was an overtime shortie, the rarest of scenarios, especially in an NCAA Tournament.